Tax Free Weekend 2018

If you ever feel you have too much faith in humanity, I suggest you spend a little time working in the school supply section at a busy Walmart the week before school starts. This past Friday through Tuesday I worked five 10-hour days in a row and spent most of my time in the back-to-school section of the store.

Thoughts and helpful hints-

TAX-FREE WEEKEND IS NOT WORTH THE HASSLE IF YOU ARE JUST BUYING THINGS FROM THE SCHOOL SUPPLY LIST. You’re waiting until the last minute and there’s a (very strong) chance what you need is not going to be there. Don’t wait and try to save 8.25% on that 50¢ purple plastic prong folder. The 40 people on that little aisle are also looking for the purple plastic prong folder. We had 200 last week… Same thing with two packs of glue sticks. And erasers.

THE SCHOOL SUPPLY LISTS ARE ONLINE. THEY’VE BEEN ONLINE SINCE JUNE. Please, please, please don’t just blindly show up and expect to have your school’s fourth grade list waiting for you. Everyone from your school’s fourth grade class has already been here and they bought all the purple plastic prong folders.

I went to the back looking for a woman’s granddaughter’s school list Tuesday night. I got on the computer, looked it up and it didn’t print out. I came back out to her and got out my phone. “Okay, I am going to go on google and look up the school. Fifth grade? Here we go. Do you have a phone with a camera?”

“NO.” she said angrily. Her little granddaughter tried to remind her grandma of the camera on her phone, but the lady gave her a stern “shut up” look.

So, I got a couple of sheets of paper and wrote out the little girl’s school list right at the front of the back-to-school section. I showed the girl where some of the things were as I was writing. I handed the list to the lady and she wasn’t even the teeniest bit thankful. :shrug: I said, “Have a great night!” to her. What can you do?

The easy thing to do, the thing that I (and I think most people) would naturally do when someone just deflates any feelings that you’re doing the right thing- would be to just let that experience make you fold up and not want to help anyone else. What I decided to do was be as nice as possible to everyone else I encountered for the rest of the evening.

Something I’ve thought about in the day since this- These are the situations where your children learn how to treat people and how to behave in public. It’s not when you’re at home at the dinner table giving a lecture. It’s not the speech you give in the car telling your children to behave when you are on the way to the store. They see how you react in the situation, if- when you can’t find what you’re looking for- you just leave items on the ground, they see how you treat the retail workers, how to treat the other shoppers. When you go out to eat and treat the waitstaff terribly… THAT’S what your kids and grandchildren will model their behavior on. Those are the things they remember.

As busy and nuts as this past week was, I just need to say that I DO like my job. I work with some really wonderfully delightful people. I meet some very interesting characters- like a man at the paint counter who wanted me to color match a rock. I see a lot of things that are adorable or funny or just surreal. Like the 6 year old girl smelling elmer’s glue while her parents were distracted, or the lady wrapping bath towels around her waist to see which one fit the best, or a man clipping his nails in the automotive section, a baby that looked exactly like William H. Macy, a young mother who set her 1 year old on the ground to play with crates. You think you’ve seen it all and then you see a Buddhist Monk on the cereal aisle.

work update

I was in the 4am – 1pm position for TWO WEEKS. Now I am on the other side of the store as a support manager. Doing the 4 ten hour days with three days off a week thing again. My second day in, I learned that the Stationery department is open and I yelled “it would have been great to have known about this last week!!”

And the people around me said, “oh yeah, we forgot you were WEIRD.”

But I think this position might be good. It’s a lateral move, I can sleep in until 7 in the morning, and it’s 80% helping customers. Also, I don’t have to think about it when I come home.

The downside, for me, is that I might have to sell people guns and I might have to learn how to be a cashier. I could probably learn to be a cashier. I mean, I learned how to talk to people after I started working here, I can probably learn how to run a register. I’m not morally opposed to being a cashier. I just don’t need that getting out.

está bien

Today was the third day of my the new position at work. This one was an involuntary move- my support manager position no longer exists. I work start work at 4am now, and that’s quite a change from going in at noon. I don’t have a set sleeping pattern yet.

It’s nearly 8pm so I just took some melatonin to try to get to sleep. I’m sure getting out my laptop and typing out a whole thing isn’t going to help.

I am about to turn on one of my hypnosis audiobooks. I’ve been listening to Confianza y Auto-Estima Hipnosis the last few days but tonight I might need Controla tu Temperamento Hipnosis.

So it’s day 3- I was stressed, and possibly tired, and there were a lot of small things that weren’t going right. I got angry about some hypocrisy. And I have this terrible thing where I can not yell or show anger like a normal person. I start tearing up. And people ask me what’s up. And I try to talk and explain that I am MAD. I’m sure a lot of people think I got yelled at. I look like someone’s broken my heart or something but I’m just angry. People are going to think I am overly sensitive and I think they are yelling at me, but that isn’t it. Anyway, tomorrow is a new day and hopefully Erika Perez will lull me to sleep and help me with my issues.

I don’t speak Spanish, but Erika Perez had the most calming voice when I was listening to a bunch of clips on Audible several years ago. I started with “Confidence and Self-Esteem” and moved on to get several collections. I probably have 20 hours of Spanish hypnosis audiobooks. I listen to things I don’t necessarily need, like Astral Projection, Balancing Your Chakras, and Love and Relationships. I mean, I don’t even know what a chakra is! But I can tell you that I haven’t fallen in years, so I guess my balance is getting better.

Hopefully I didn’t just jinx myself!

Moontower Comedy Festival 2018

I spent the last four days at the Moontower Comedy Festival in Austin. This was the 6th year out of the 7 years it’s been around that I’ve gone to. I got the badge where you get to choose 6 headliners to be in the 2nd or 3rd row for. It turns out that I was in the first row for 5 of my headliners. I know it might have come across as humblebragging on facebook when I was like “oh no! I’m in the front row again. I hope this isn’t awkward!”

But, for real, there have been some times when I’ve been at the front at comedy things and it’s been awkward as heck. The first show of the first Moontower Festival, I got Daffy Ducked by Moshe Kasher. And then, a couple of years ago, my sister and I were at a small club and the only table that was open was in front of the stage when we saw Bridget Everett. There was sweat and a loose fitting shifty top and… yeah. It was a little overwhelming. Then, at one of the first Ping Pong Smackdowns my sister wanted to sit in the front row and, holy crap, I looked up from my lunch to see Ari Shaffir’s bare backside right in my face. I’ve been traumatized, is all I am saying.

This year my highlight was Tig Notaro. I’ve seen her a few times before but this was the best time of all. She was so funny I was crying from laughing so hard. Mike Birbiglia’s show “The New One” is also great. There was a point in the show when he said something his doctor told him about men (I don’t need to spoil this for the 3.5 people who might read this) and a lady behind me said, very seriously, “is that true?” and I wished I had eyes in the back of my head to see her husband’s response. They were going to have a talk when they got home. At the end, a man next to me audibly sniffled, holding back his tears. It was really good.

Thinking to the people I’ve never seen before that I’ll seek out in the future, I would say Julio Torres was really entertaining. I just liked him right away.

There were a lot of- I wouldn’t say “lowlights”- there were things that really made me think about the state of certain types of comedy and, like, what I personally find entertaining. What I would like to see more of and what I’d like to see less of. Because I saw a lot of people who were kind of telling the same joke.

The first year, at the same show where I got Daffy Ducked by Moshe Kasher, there were two dudes in a row who did the exact same 10 minutes. And we were in the front row and the second guy was sort of looking at us like “why isn’t anyone laughing at me?” and I didn’t know what to do. You can’t pretend to laugh at a guy telling the jokes a guy told 2 minutes before that you thought were just okay.

I wondered to myself, maybe he didn’t hear the guy before him? Because it was such a lazy premise it was entirely possible that at any given moment there were 25 men around the world also performing the EXACT same 10 (or 5 or 3) minute set. But then at one point he goes “as Brendan said…” and went on to finish the end of his joke that was going to be the same as Brendan’s joke anyway with the exact words on purpose. That was awkward.

Electric Six times, 2018

A couple of weeks ago Electric Six played in Austin and I went to dinner with them before the show. On top of being a great band that puts on consistently awesome, fun shows they are a nice bunch of people.

We didn’t take pictures! I think I held it together most of the time. I only fangirled a little when Matt ordered a Topo Chico (!!!) and when Tyler started singing a little song to himself about how much he was enjoying his tacos. I think that even some of the members of the band fangirled a little at the taco song. 🙂

The next night, I went to Dallas to see them with my sister Jamie and her boyfriend Brendan. We talked a bit to all of them afterward and it was just a great weekend.

Great concert photography-

allergies

Coworker: I don’t know if it’s an allergy, but my mouth and lips swell up whenever I eat cantaloupes or watermelons.
me: yeah… that’s an allergy.

I’ve watched some episodes of Travel Man recently and there have been a couple of times where Richard Ayoade has been near horses and he’s had an allergic reaction. Imagine that. I never heard of anyone being allergic to horses before, but there are probably a lot of people who are. I could be, who knows? I’ve only been near horses a handful of times in my life and I’ve always kept my distance.

I do know I am allergic to something in lipstick and henna. I haven’t found an animal or food that I am allergic to. Perhaps I am allergic to elk. Or pandas. Imagine meeting a bear in the wild and playing dead like you’re supposed to. The bear isn’t out for blood but he comes up to see what your deal is and you start sneezing! You could’ve been friends.

2017

All 417 weeks of 2017 have gone by so fast. I can’t believe there are only 16 more weeks left this year.

There have been highs. There have been extra super highs. There have been lows lower than you think lows could be. But we’ve almost made it. I think if we learned anything from this past 948 weeks, it’s that we just have to keep going.

I went to two comedy festivals by myself. One in Austin and one in San Francisco. I saw Electric Six live twice, got to hang out with them, had a private two song acoustic set from Dick Valentine. I bought Trevor Dunn’s notes from when he wrote “Retrovertigo”. I saw Dead Cross live. I can’t remember how many times I’ve seen Mike Patton live now. It’s well into the 20’s. I went to “Walmart Academy” twice. Went back to San Francisco with my sister Jamie where we saw Kasabian live. I can’t express how exciting that was. I’ve backspaced over 27 exclamation points. I spent Halloween freezing in the pouring rain seeing LCD Soundsystem live. A few weeks ago, we went up to Dallas to see Glassjaw play for about 40 minutes and then we came right back- we left before the headliner came on! A few days after that, some little kid set fire to the store I work in. I had to spend the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving Day working at a different Walmart and it was a nightmare. It taught me a lot about something I have been consciously trying to do this year- this horrible year in the history of the world- I’ve been trying to be nicer. We all need to be nicer to each other.

Think about how many people you encounter in your day. They are all going through stresses in varying degrees. There’s no reason to try to add to that. It’s difficult to try to spread calmness and be nicer. Sometimes I get frustrated or overwhelmed and I’m trying not to shut down and meltdown in those situations. I feel like I’ve made some strides in the right direction this year and I hope to continue in 2018.

45

I cut my hair a little too short for some of it to stay in my normal work ponytail and the slight change in the way I put up my hair has sent shockwaves through the fresh perimeter of the store. For three days, anyone who saw me shouted “There’s something different about you!!”

It’s funny, because when just continued to wear my normal ponytail after I had 12″ cut off the length people didn’t notice for several weeks.

There are some girls who change their hair twice a week. I wonder if they get those comments or if it’s just reserved for someone who looks the same for years.

I had my birthday last week. I went into a new age range on forms. I’m not sure if I have been going through a midlife crisis for the last year or if it’s just the general fear most people are having that the world could end at the drop of a hat. :shrug: Is it a midlife crisis or an end of the world crisis? Either way, I still haven’t been to Machu Picchu.

You’re really only as old as the sound you make when you pick up the dog’s water bowl. I’ve been trying to stay young by spending time every day silently gathering grapes and onion peels off the ground while I’m at work. On my days off, it’s hair ties and laundry.

MASH

She played MASH when she was a young girl. Planned her future wedding. Decorated her future house (or shack or apartment or mansion). Named her six (or two or three or twelve) future children- The girls were named after things of beauty and the boys had rugged last names for first names. She picked out their favorite sports and favorite colors. She imagined her future life as a loving mother and caring wife, creating meal plans that took all pickiness and food allergies into account. She knew it wasn’t all going to be a breeze. She imagined working as a team with her husband Brad Pitt (or Ben Affleck or Patrick from math class or Mauricio the janitor) to make it through those times when little Carson was acting up in the SUV (or Ferrari or Cadillac or 1987 Toyota pickup truck). But mostly, she imagined the birthday party themes and Mother’s Day gifts.

Never did she imagine that one day she would have to look back in the lunch meat section of the grocery store and yell at her fourth child, “Melody! GET YOUR FACE OFF THAT!”

notes from a plane

My spirit animal is on the plane. A fly on a plane. Does it feel like it flew hundreds of miles?

What if you ran on a treadmill on a bus? How fit would you get?!

Imagine the first fly to get stuck on a plane. I don’t think I have any more to add to that, but let your own mind wander.

What was he or she thinking? What was the pilot thinking? Maybe that’s why Amelia Earhart crashed- caught up in thought about flies on planes.

But weren’t those old times planes all open? Maybe she was thinking about putting flies in a box. And what she could put in there to make them comfortable. In my professional opinion, if you want to make a fly super stoked about his situation, you’ll give him a bit of rotten watermelon. Even seedless watermelon- there’s something about it. So It’s not like they think the seeds are pretty lady flies.

Maybe Amelia Earhart choked on a peanut. Or a tiny 100 calorie pack of Wheat Thins.

I’d like to imagine the man in the next row up nodding to his music is also listening to Retox.